The Trust speaks up for wildlife in the planning system and tries to get the best outcome all round. The planning system shapes the places where we live and work, and plays a vital role in determining the type and quality of landscape for future generations.
Inappropriate development can harm our natural heritage. But well-considered planning has the potential to protect or even enhance our environment and help nature’s recovery - by restoring and creating wildlife habitats. Our nature-rich development projects show that new developments can be good for both wildlife and people.
What the Wildlife Trust does
We work in a number of ways to provide a strong voice for wildlife in the face of development pressures threatening our natural environment. We:
- Influence local planning policy to ensure that it protects and enhances our natural environment and the natural processes on which we depend.
- Advise, support and train key decision-makers on their responsibilities and statutory duties regarding wildlife and green space.
- Work with local and neighbouring organisations, groups and individuals to find new opportunities to connect and restore habitats.
- Work with planners, developers and landowners to encourage sensitive design, new habitat creation and good management of green space within development.
- Undertake local planning casework to object to inappropriate development that will damage important wildlife sites, safeguard the best interests of wildlife, secure improvements and connectivity of local landscapes, and where needed we press for adequate mitigation for any damage.
The Wildlife Trusts work with The Biodiversity in Planning partnership which has an online Wildlife Assessment Check that can be used by developers, or anyone making changes to their home that require planning permission, to see if their proposals are likely to need input from an ecologist. The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management maintain a directory of qualified ecologists which can be searched for suitably trained members.
In order to focus our limited resources on the highest conservation priorities, we must balance our planning work with other activities such as managing nature reserves and providing advice to owners of wildlife sites. Our approach to planning is guided by our Planning Policy. The Trust maintains a neutral stance on development and applies evidence in an objective manner to form an opinion about a particular plan, policy or proposal. This includes house building, road building and renewable energy projects such as wind turbines.
Latest planning news
East West Rail need to change track
Debate continues about the best option for the East West Rail route into Cambridge, with calls for a fundamental rethink
Godmanchester Road Reprieve
The Trust are delighted that any proposals for the Huntingdon Third River Crossing have now been permanently scrapped on both economic…
Development, planning and growth pressures on wildlife - where we stand
Brian Eversham, Chief Exec of the Wildlife Trust BCN, outlines our stance on the Ox-Cam Arc, and sets out the principles by which this,…
OxCam Arc - what does it mean for wildlife?
Our vision for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc is that development should only go forward at a level and pace that doesn’t breach…
Challenges and Choices - EA water management consultation now open
The Environment Agency are seeking your views on the challenges our waters face and the choices and changes we all need to make to help…
Beds-Cambs rail route off-track for protecting key wildlife habitats
The decision to take East West Rail to Cambourne reduces the risks of ecological damage, but a route to the north of the A428 offers…
National Planning Policy Framework
The new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came in to force in early 2012 and replaced most previous planning guidance. It guides local planning authorities in producing their Local Plans. It's important to understand the Framework if you want to become involved in local planning matters.
The Framework makes some over-arching statements about the natural environment and some specific points about protecting nature. It says:
- Planning has an environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.
- Pursuing sustainable development involves…moving from a net loss of bio-diversity to achieving net gains for nature.
- Local planning authorities should set out a strategic approach in their Local Plans, planning positively for the creation, protection, enhancement and management of networks of biodiversity and green infrastructure.
- Opportunities to incorporate biodiversity in and around developments should be encouraged.